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Public Health: START HERE at USF

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Ten days. 20 events. And, more than 2500 people.

This is the phenomenal outcome when members of the campus and local communities unite to celebrate National Public Health Week with the USF College of Public Health.

The 2014 theme issued a challenge to START HERE and USF answered the call with a resounding “Yes!”

Public Health Week kicked off early with a Happy April Fool’s Day: No Kidding-This is Public Health Party. The event featured a t-shirt design contest, trivia games, and healthy snacks. Alumni judged more than 15 entires from students and faculty.

Public Health Week kicked off early with a Happy April Fool’s Day: No Kidding-This is Public Health Party. The event featured a t-shirt design contest, trivia games, and healthy snacks. Alumni judged more than 15 entires from students and faculty.


Eat well.

A festive spirit and delightful aroma permeated the air surrounding Riverfront Park. That was the location of the college’s first annual BBQ. More than 150 Bulls welcomed the college’s 30th anniversary year with food, fun, and fellowship. The family-friendly event included activities for kids, canoeing for adults, and a good time for all.

Be the healthiest nation in one generation.

From vaccine awareness to healthier eating choices to educating the public on vector-borne diseases, USF students are determined to make their generation the healthiest in the nation. Members of a nutrition class were dismayed over the eating choices at a few campus eateries. Rather than take their money elsewhere, they took their education and will and launched Edi-Bull, a campaign to bring healthier food choices to students, faculty, and staff at USF Health. The initiative went public during NPHW and already resulted in Edi-Bull eating choices added to the menu of two dining establishments.

 

The campus and local public health community partnered to share knowledge of vector bornes diseases in observance of World Health Day.

The campus and local public health community partnered to share knowledge of vector bornes diseases in observance of World Health Day.

For a moment, imagine what it’s like to live in an under-vaccinated society. That’s the premise behind Invisible Threat, a film screened in the COPH. Hosted in partnership with community organizations, the film addressed “the science of disease and the risks facing society.” More than 125 participants attended the viewing which included a panel discussion and mini fair on vaccine preventable diseases.

The healthy generation theme was also reinforced with two other student-led events. A maternal and child health student-led symposium on initiatives to involve men in the childbirth and childrearing experience and a “Public health is mental health” promotion held in conjunction with a campus-wide suicide awareness event reinforced the healthy generation theme.

Get out ahead. Be healthy from the start.

Throughout the week public health students and organizations demonstrated the importance of prevention. Via the USF Health Service Corps, they volunteered at multiple health fairs benefitting members of the Haitian and Burmese communities, as well as middle school students. Additional service projects included cleaning up a nature preserve with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and partnering with Advocates for World Health to sort donated medical supplies en route to resource poor facilities in other countries.

Fire safety and (loud) fire alarms got lots of attention at a health fair for members of the Haitian community. Children learn life-saving do’s and don’ts from a public health student.

Fire safety and (loud) fire alarms got lots of attention at a health fair for members of the Haitian community. Children learn life-saving do’s and don’ts from a public health student.

 

2014 give life day swab

Give Life Day featured three drives—one for blood donation and the other for Donate Life Florida and Be the Match registries.

 

2014 give life day tshirts

Give Life Day participants autographed a USF lab coat, teddy bear, and t-shirt which were later given to three children whose lives have been touched by blood cancer.

Don’t panic.

Planning and preparedness was the focus of two key college events. The annual Networking Fair attracted students eager to plan their careers. They interacted with public health employers and alumni committed to hiring their own. Disaster planning was the message conveyed to hundreds of participants enrolled in a one-day Community Emergency Response Team Course. The free training included workshops and exercises pertaining to preparedness for hurricanes and other disasters.

The best way for public health to START HERE is with a dedicated and passionate workforce. To this end, the college recognized excellence in education, research, and service at its annual NPHW Awards Ceremony. More than 140 students and recent graduates were honored for their academic accomplishments and induction into Delta Omega. Likewise, students named epidemiologist James A. Mortimer, PhD, Outstanding Professor of the Year, and Belinda Johnson-Cornett, MBA, MS, earned the Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health Award.

The USF College of Public Health is celebrating 30 years of educating public health professionals: START HERE.

Related media:
USF names Osceola County administrator 2014 Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health
Photo montage

Story by Natalie Preston-Washington and Ellen Kent, USF College of Public Health. Photos by Ellen Kent.

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